Monday, 1 July 2013
Book: Demons in the Big Easy by Jamie Marchant
Cassandra lives in the world of Domhan, which is plagued by demons which she banishes back to their realm. When one of her granddaughters, Aine, falls through a gateway to Earth (to New Orleans to be precise), Cassandra has to follow to save her, along with Aine's twin Carronwyn. Once there, and performing a spell, Carronwyn and Cassandra meet a homeless man, Jake, who can see demons for what they really are, unlike most Earth-dwellers, and he joins them on their quest to find Aine. But that quest leads them to find a strange ritual centred around demons masquerading as Aine.
For a short novella I found this book very entertaining. There's nothing particularly serious about the story, it is very much one of those that you would pick up because you know that the good guys are going to save the day and they're not going to pay too steep a price. And every now and again those books are just what you need! (Particularly if you're like me and read a lot of doom and gloom end of the world books!).
The cast of characters is very small, you have Cassandra and her two granddaughters, and only one of them is present for most of the story, and Jake, as well as memories of Cassandra's youngest son, Aiden. The small cast means that Marchant is able to keep the story going at a fast pace and not have to slow down for introductions and many character interactions. At the same time though, there wasn't particularly much character development going on, but as I mentioned above, that is probably due to the length of the story and the fact that the author clearly desired to write a fast paced action story. Though in my mind it seems that while writing it, Marchant has a much more complex and complete view of the characters than is actually revealed in the book.
I particularly liked the contrast between the two worlds of Domhan and Earth, and how one was magic based whereas the other was more technology based (that would be respectively), and Carronwyn's reactions to the differences do seem to be realistic if she really was coming from an alternative world. I also liked the fact that Marchant made other people in the novel comment on Cassandra and Carronwyn's dress and how it was different from modern fashion, in many novels such as this the authors sometimes forget small details like that.
The magic system was also well thought out, and thinking on it now the gateway system reminds me of some of the children's fiction I read when I was younger (if anyone's interested the series was the Demonata by Darren Shan), but that didn't mean that I found the gateway idea stale, far from it, there is so much that can be done on either side of the gateway that the gateway itself is ultimately unimportant. The magic that Cassandra performed seemed to be based in some of the older Earth traditions (like Wicca I think?) of the Earth giving power to the person. I found that it was refreshing for an author of a short novella to actually think fair enough into the magic system to mention this!
Overall I would say this is an excellent read if you're wanting something to relax with, that isn't going to take too much brainpower and that guarantees a happy ending!
P.s. The twist was good!